CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Sissonville's success on the diamond this season has been like a snowball rolling downhill: With each victory, the Indians have gained more and more confidence.
That was on display last week when unranked Sissonville upset No. 2 Herbert Hoover 7-3 in Falling Rock in the Class AA Region 4 semifinals.
Now the Indians (17-12) find themselves one win away from the state tournament as they visit another nemesis in No. 3 Wayne (23-6) in the Region 4 final at 6 p.m. Thursday. (See Page 2B for state pairings.)
Sissonville lost twice to the Pioneers during the regular season by scores of 9-0 and 5-1. The Indians are looking for lightning to strike twice as Hoover also beat them twice (3-2 and 2-1) before they broke through in the postseason.
"All these girls, it's like we're one big family,'' said Sissonville coach Nikki Gross. "They're upbeat and keep each other up during games and these girls talk all the time. We're really close and I think that helps us.''
The Indians started the year with one of the youngest starting lineups in the Kanawha Valley with six freshmen and two sophomores. Gross knew the freshmen were full of potential as they guided Sissonville Middle School to an undefeated record and the Kanawha County championship last season.
"We've finally realized what it takes to win each game,'' said the Indians coach. "At the beginning of the season when we first started practicing I was like, 'Wow, we have something big going on here.' ''
The season, though, got off to a rocky start with Sissonville posting a 10-11 mark through its first 21 games. The Indians turned it around, sporting a five-game winning streak and victories in seven of their last eight.
Freshman pitcher-third baseman Alexee Haynes (.518), sophomore catcher Katelyn Linville (.374), sophomore third baseman-center fielder Taylor Lee (.372), freshman shortstop Karli Pinkerton (.363) and freshman first baseman-outfielder Abbey Jordan (.361) have produced when it matters most.